A year and a little bit later, I find myself back in Paris, this time with a new sense of the city. Having lived here for a few months last year, I know certain areas pretty well and I have a few local haunts, but I am still learning something new about the city and its people every day. I arrived more than a week ago with my good friend Brianna from home, and it was wonderful to have a companion for the first few days while I reacquainted myself with Paris.
We rented a small little Airbnb in the Latin Quarter, on the top floor of an apartment building. The apartment with its charming slanted roof and even more charming 5 flights of steps overlooked a school, so instead of an alarm in the morning, we were woken by the sounds of children playing at recess in the schoolyard.
Our first days were filled with lots of walking and exploring .. even despite the cold, the city has a charm and energy that is infectious. It’s a strange feeling to be in the midst of the hustle and bustle, around people going to-and-from in their daily lives, while we had no set agenda and were not slaves to the clock. It’s inspiring and makes me want to be a part of the furor; although the role of the tourist is also an invaluable part of the makeup of Paris.
One of of our first days we went to the top of the department store Galeries Lafayette, where you can go out to the rooftop to see an incredible view of the city and of the Eiffel Tower. Walking along the Champ de Mars, we also went on quite the hunt around the rues surrounding the Tower to find a little side street with an intimate view of the monument.
In our first few days we also visited the Musée d’Orsay, one of the best museums in the city, I think. It used to be a large train station, but was converted into a museum in 1986, so fairly recent. One of my favorite childhood books, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, takes place there, and the movie as well; they’re very good both of them ! One can spend an entire day there, casually strolling through the floors and exhibits; since we only had a few hours there, I may go back one more time before I leave as I only saw a few floors. But attention Papa, I managed to see the caricatures of Honoré Daumier, just for you !
The Musée d’Orsay houses the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist artwork in the world, and I always make sure to go to the top floor to see the collections of those artists.
As I write this post, I’m in a café by the Canal Saint-Martin, away from the business of the center of Paris. I had a bit of a slow morning, finally a bit of relaxation after the whirlwind of the past week or so. I’m realizing even more that time is so relative; compared to this time last week, I feel that I haven’t done that much today and that’s ok .. there’s a lot that can fit into 24 hours, it just depends on how you look at it. More to say on that topic later .. for now, à bientôt !